Posted By Siarhey Kanushok

hwo to fix a tight door

As interior doors are pulled open and pushed closed day in and day out, it puts quite a lot of strain on the door jambs, hinges, and latches. As a result of their gradual wear and tear, the interior door tightens and stops closing correctly. Generally, it is because of three interior door problems. So, let us first look at the problems and then their solutions.


    One of the common reasons for closing door problems is the hinge. The screws that hold the hinge in place start to work loose and cause the door to sag or become tight. It results in the door not meeting the latch-side strike plate or scraping the door.


    By looking at the jamb, you need to check if the hinge plates are causing the problem. If the mortises are cut too deep, it causes the hinge leaves to sink below the surface. You can fix loose hinge by merely tightening the screws. In some cases, it is enough to fix the problem.

    If you notice that the screws are twisting in place and not catching, then it is best to use longer screws. Even if this does not fix the issue, put some carpenter's glue on a matchstick and tap it into faulty screw holes. Reinstall the screws once the glue dries up. If the mortise is too deep, you can decrease its depth by cutting a wood shim and gluing it.


    Another common cause of an interior door improper closing is a faulty door latch. It may cause the door to grind against the latch strike plates. Look for a gap between the door frame and the door by leaning down at eye-level with the doorknob. If the latch is not centered on the strike place, there is an easy fix. That is why fixing the faulty door latch can help resolve the issue.


    First, you need to tighten the screws. Hopefully, it'll fix the issue. If it does not, then move the latch strike plate after taking out the screws. However, you need to make sure that the plate does not move far enough from the old screw holes because it will ensure the door stays fastened.    

    If it does not work, then remove the strike place. Move the strike plate to center on the latch and make the location. Chisel your door frame as required and reattach the strike plate.    


    If all methods fail to deliver the desired result, you need to look at your interior door's top and bottom. There is a possibility that the door edge at the top is not completely level and it is causing the door to stick in one corner.


    By using a handheld planer tool or sandpaper, you can trim down the troublemaking edges. We would recommend you test the fit after every little change you make because you do not want to end up with a small door for its frame – it does not look right.

Other Reasons Causing A Tight Interior Door

There could be other reasons behind a tight interior door. So, let us look at them as well. 

Door Swings Open/Closed On Its Own

If your door swings open or closed on its own, the most likely reason is that the door frame is out of plumb. If you notice loose pin hinges, remove a pin and use a hammer to bend it slightly. It will help increase friction. Now put it back in. If it does not work, you can unscrew the lining and relocate it to ensure it is plumb.

An Out of Wind Door Frame

Do you have to push the door quite hard for it to latch? Does the door springs open a bit when you push it down? If it is the case, you have a twisted door or the frame is 'out of wind.'   It could be the reason behind a tight interior door.    

There are two ways to fix the problem. You can move the frame a little bit. Unscrew the frame and move the top of the hinge side in a way that the leg is parallel with the other one. Do keep in mind that it might take a few hits and misses.      

Another fix is to move the doorstops. Leave the door as is and simply move the doorstop. When you are re-nailing the doorstops, do make sure to leave a gap of 1-2mm all the way around if there is need for paint. If there is no need for decorating, you should fix them tighter.

If Nothing Works, Close Shaving Might Do The Job

To keep a door from sticking in the jamb, you need to find the reveal, which is the space between the jamb and the door. It should be about approximately the thickness of a nickel or 1/8 to 3/16 inch wide.     Open and close the door to find the reveal. If you notice that there is uneven reveal, it means the hinges are out of alignment or loose. If that is not the case, the most likely reason is humidity. So, it is time to plane the door.

The Bottom Line

Fixing a tight interior door is easy. Do not let it drive you crazy. A little tightening or a bit of sanding will do the job for you. If the fixes mentioned above do not work, it might be best to call a pro. Let us know if you have any queries related to how to fix a tight interior door.

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